Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Hillcrest Town Council Keeps Finances Secret

“We Keep Some Money in Envelopes,” Treasurer Says

by LEO E. LAURENCE • Copyright © 2008 by San Diego News Service

“We keep some of our money in envelopes. We don’t have much money,” said a man who iden-tified himself as the treasurer of the Hillcrest Town Council (HTC). He didn’t give his name and one of the HTC’s founders, Nancy Moors, refused to provide it.

After a Hillcrest businessman requested San Diego News Service to get information on the HTC’s financial records, numerous requests were made at, and after, the HTC’s August meeting.

The group’s treasurer said he didn’t know who had the records, if they exist.

A member standing nearby challenged the unnamed treasurer’s conclusions, saying the organi-zation has made considerable money at recent events.

Indeed, the organization is making money.

At its August meeting, Ron de Harte, executive director of the Pride organization that produces the annual Pride Parade and Festival, gave the HTC a check for $900. Pride so far has distributed $20,000 to various community organizations, he said in an interview.

Being unsuccessful with the organization’s treasurer, I went to the person chairing the August meeting, Leo Wilson, and asked to see the HTC’s financial records.

He clearly was uncomfortable with the request. Wilson simply said that the organization “needs to produce an annual financial report,” then walked away.

But that did not answer the question of whether the media could inspect the organization’s actual financial records — not just the summary contained in the typical financial report.

Having Wilson serve as the group’s chair seemed odd. The HTC limits its voting membership to residents of Hillcrest. Even Hillcrest business owners who are non-residents cannot vote at HTC meetings. Wilson is a resident of Park West/Banker’s Hill, where he also serves as chair of the area’s community association.

Next, we asked Nancy Moors, one of the HTC’s founders. The announcements promoting each month meeting, and HTC events, are e-mailed by Moors. She and her partner Ann Garwood seem largely to be in charge of the organization.

San Diego News Service has a Hillcrest businessman trained in accounting who agreed to inspect the HTC’s records “at his office or theirs.”

Moors did not answer an e-mailed request to inspect the HTC’s financial records. She only sent this message: “The (HTC) is a group of neighbors that get together once a month to discuss common goals and issues. A financial statement will be released to the public later this year.”

In other words, the HTC’s actual detailed financial records will remain secret and only a sanitized summary will be issued later this year.

For comment, contact Leo Laurence at, or at (619) 757-4909.